Vodafone successfully trials HSPA+ mobile broadband

Vodafone has successfully trialled an evolution of mobile broadband technology achieving actual peak data download rates of up to 16 Mbps.

The high speed data connection was achieved during field trials of HSPA+ 64QAM technology on Vodafone Spain’s network.

Vodafone now plans to trial mobile broadband data connections with peak rates of up to 21Mbps early in 2009 using HSPA+ MIMO functionality. Vodafone experts estimate that the technology would be capable of delivering a typical video download experience of more than 13Mbps in good conditions and an average of more than 4 Mbps across a full range of typical cell locations including urban environments. If the trials prove a success, Vodafone plans to make this technology available in selected commercial networks.

Andy MacLeod, global networks director at Vodafone, stated: “Successfully demonstrating a live HSPA+ high speed connection has been a key milestone in continuing to build confidence in this new technology. The results show that HSPA+ technology is well placed to further enhance our customers’ mobile broadband experience through the evolution of our existing 3G networks.”

Vodafone worked in association with Ericsson and Qualcomm to prove the potential of the technology in the field, following impressive data throughput rates achieved in laboratory tests.

HSPA+ technology is the next evolutionary step in the (3G) HSPA roadmap and increases performance through the use of a more advanced modulation technique called 64QAM. Performance can be enhanced further through the use of multiple antennae on both base stations and data devices (Multiple Input Multiple Output – MIMO).

Both 64QAM and MIMO features require new HSPA+ mobile broadband devices. Vodafone is working with its device vendors on the trialling, testing and validation of these devices ready for commercial availability.

At present, Vodafone mobile broadband customers can download data and surf the net at speeds of up to 7.2 Mbps, delivering an internet experience comparable with fixed broadband.

Vodafone expects HSPA+ mobile broadband technology to significantly enhance actual download speeds as well as customers’ overall mobile experience.

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